About The Author

Tom Beeckman leads the Root Development Group. The root system of Arabidopsis thaliana is an excellent model to study the relationship between cell cycle regulation and growth and development. Understanding this offers a great potential for altering root architecture and water uptake, allowing to design plants to survive under dryer conditions. The research of this group focuses on the formation of lateral root primordia in the pericycle to investigate how cell cycle regulation is involved in the initiation of new organs. Plant roots serve a multitude of functions. They anchor plants and supply them with water and nutrients and exchange various growth substances with the shoots. At the root-soil interface, numerous interactions between plants and their environment take place. The diversity of functions and broad range of interactions with the environment render the biology of roots complicated. During the last ten years, Arabidopsis thaliana has been proven to be an efficient model plant to study root development and time has come to extrapolate the obtained insights to crop species such as maize, a species that is currently also under investigation.

Microbes: The Right Target To Feed The World And Protect Nature?

In agriculture, nitrogen (N) is one of the most important nutrients to improve plant growth and is applied in the form of fertilizer. Plants can take up nitrogen in the form of ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3–). However, a derivative of ammonium, ammonia (NH3), is also being used by specialized soil microbes. This causes plants